Coding is increasingly becoming a crucial element of a child’s education. Parents understandably are looking for different ways to help kids develop coding skills at home. Coding apps for kids is just one of many available resources along with coding games for kids.
With increased demand from parent, I’ve seen a surge in coding apps for kids. The apps serve to introduce kids to coding fundamentals. Some of these apps are designed for children as young as three! Many of the popular apps focus on introducing children to the logic of coding. However, some apps will focus on specific languages. Regardless of the app used many teach the same fundamentals. Children learn about loops, “if-then” statements, variables, and conditionals. Keeping a young child’s attention is no easy task. Most of these apps use fun characters and a story to keep kids engaged.
Apps are an amazing resource for learning. For starters, they can be used wherever you go so long as your phone or tablet is present. This convenience is very much appreciated on longer car rides. Personally, I prefer handing over a tablet knowing it will be used for educational purposes and not mindless YouTube videos.
There are numerous coding apps for kids on the market. This article is designed to help dads select the best app for their kids. The apps are broken into categories for elementary, middle, and high school so you are sure to find something for everyone in the family.
Coding Apps for Kids
First up we have Code Karts. Available on Android and iOS with the appealing price of $0 (some in-app purchases can be made) this is a great starter app for a young learner. Your child will use drag-and-drop code to navigate a race car around a track. No prior coding skills are required and children that cannot yet read won’t be at a disadvantage. Kids will master the first 10 levels, all free, by matching colors. Spend just $1.99 and you will get 70+ additional levels with increased difficulty.
No racing game is complete with out a bit of competition. Players can race other cars around the track to test their coding speed.
Kodable introduces your child to a friendly family of aliens that have crash-landed on a new planet. This new world is covered in mazes and it’s the player’s job to help the aliens explore the land. Kids use drag-and-drop blocks to guide the aliens on their journey.
Kodable is currently on iOS and does require a subscription. The lifetime subscription is $120 and includes up to four player profiles. You can also select monthly billing at $6.99/month.
Playing games with your children is one of the best parts of being a dad. If you and your kids enjoy Mario then you will love learning with SpriteBox! This 2D adventure game is similar in style to Mario, but teaches kids how to code. They start with simple drag-and-drop tasks and work up to learning proper syntax. Completing the adventure is achievable for young learners with some curveballs that might even stump dad!
Using the Sphero Edu app (iOS and Android) kids can control one of multiple Sphero robots. A personal favorite is the mini R2-D2 and BB-8 from Star Wars. The robots are durable, waterproof, and great for kids in middle school. If you have younger children around you will need to be sure small pieces, such as balls and capsules used in the robot, don’t become snacks.
Sphero provides a bit of something for everybody with levels for different coding abilities. Kids can decide to start with drawing paths and using drag-and-drop blocks and eventually get into writing text-based code.
While fun and engaging, Sphero does require some financial commitment. The app is free but you will need to pop for the robots. If you’re a DIY-er this is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to the maker movement and learn coding at the same time!
Hopscotch is great because it isn’t limited to just coding practice. Kids can develop multiple other STEM skills and pick up some artistic skills as well. This is really an app that a child can use for a long time to learn and develop new skills. Your kids will have the chance to control and command the actions of numerous characters including designs and illustrations.
It’s been said that sharing is caring. I agree and it’s also a great way to receive feedback and improve yourself. With Hopscotch kids will be able to share their creations, such as games, with an online community. They will enjoy the feedback from the community and have a confidence booster as they see their creation brining joy to others.
Hopscotch has a few drawbacks. For starters it’s only on iOS and does require a subscription of $7.99/month for advanced levels. The app is also more open-ended compared to others on the list. If your child is a creative type and likes to explore this is a great app for them! Kids that require a bit more structure might find the open-endedness a bit less exciting and possibly frustrating.
Are your kids into logic puzzles? Do they enjoy some of the old school arcade games we enjoyed as kids, such as Pac-Man? If so then you’ve done a great job introducing them to classic games! Oh, and they should check out Robozzle. In this game kids will explore literally thousands of levels as they learn about conditionals.
Designed to foster out of the box thinking, Robozzle puzzles will require your kids to analyze different perspectives when solving a problem. I know this is an article on coding apps for kids, but parents might even find this one entertaining. The free version is great and you can make in-app purchases to get advanced features.
Codea is available on the iPad and is similar in style to Hopscotch. Users create interactive games and graphics using the Lua programming language. Using simple touch commands the user creates code from various menus. Adding your own sounds, images, and characters make the game that much more exciting.
The graphics are impressive, but the UI is a bit difficult. Be warned that younger children might quickly lose interest.
Kids can learn how to code with a ton of resources available online. Tutorials and videos are fun and engaging. Introducing apps to their learning will help teach new skills while reinforcing those already developed. With how much time kids spend on devices these days encouraging them to spend some of that time learning is a wise move. Some of these games, such as Robozzle, will provide enough entertainment that kids won’t view it as traditional learning.
Drop a note in the comments below if you feel I’ve missed an amazing app for this list.